July 11 2019
In 2009, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that up to $2 trillion is laundered globally in one year, but less than 1 per cent of this illegal activity is caught. Almost ten years on, this trend still held true in the UK – in 2018, although as much as hundreds of billions of pounds in laundered cash was thought to have washed through the City of London, only 40 arrests were made from 22,196 flagged cases.
The difficulty in identifying suspicious activity is fundamentally a problem of volume: a combination of the enormous amount of transactional information received, the expert money laundering attacks that circumvent published AML transaction scenarios, and the sheer speed of criminal activity. With the advent of near real-time bank transfers coupled by advances in cloud computing, criminals are now able to disperse illicit funds through different coordinated bank accounts so quickly that they are almost impossible to intersect.